I'm in the same boat you're in...you'll want to look at a few books....but each is used for "different" things.
Recently, I came across a pretty cheap book that I believe is worth it. It's called "Culinary Boot Camp" a guy wrote it after attending the CIA's 5 day boot camp. It includes tons of recipes that they made, and walks you through each, with explainations, etc. etc. based on "skills" learned. SO....you walk through the book learning "skills" and apply them to recipes. I find it very good.
However, to get MORE indepth to each of the skills, and the plethora of research and recipes to really learn about each skill/recipe in depth, Mastering the Art of French Cooking is good....its segmented a little different...almost by "ingredient" which doesnt lend much to a "course". In other words, you can't pick up MTAoFC and do it front to back in order, and it really "teach" you skills in that fashion.
Then there is escoffier and Larousse books (wish they made these in electronic format!). I don't have these but they are on my christmas list..I just spend an hour reading them every weekend at B&N (they are rather pricey and kind of useless without the basic skills and techniques)
Check out Culinary Boot camp though, its not a "thick" book by any means. I actually bought it because I was thinking about taking the boot camp (and still am) but never opened it until this weekend...and then i went "pfft...man i had this book all along and it's what I've been looking for! I can do this book front to back and they actually explain some history, techniques, etc. "
I should add, that each section gives you a "menu" of food to cook a meal, in which you use the skills you've "learned". its flexible enough to pick a few different sides with the main "dish" too. because, in the class, everyone cooks the protein it seems, then different groups make different sides, so you can pick and choose which side recipes you want to make.
for instance, the first day is:
Chicken Breast Provencal - this "everyone" cooks.
then 5 or 6 different "teams" cook a different side, mix of veggies and starches.
- Buttered sugar snap peans
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Sauteed zucchini
- Braised red cabbage
- glazed carrots
- rice pilaf
- potato puree
these recipe will cover what information is in the "chapter"....so...you'll learn how to make a stock, how to sautee, basic knife skills, and a little about sauces.
have a look inside the bookAmazon Online Reader : Culinary Boot Camp: Five Days of Basic Training at The Culinary Institute of America
also, just found a video...The Best of Culinary Boot Camp - DVD @ VMS-Online
but can't vouch for it...as just found it searching...but I might pick it up.